The Straits Times
Published on Sep 30, 2012

Tilda Swinton steps into 'Impossible Wardrobe' in Paris


PARIS (AFP) - Tilda Swinton solemnly unspooled a pair of century-old silk stockings from a dust cover, placed one in each gloved hand and strode down the room - before a spellbound Paris art and fashion crowd.

The British actress was the self-effacing-yet-central figure of an offbeat performance that premiered on Saturday night, in which she breathes life into 57 rare treasures from the archive of Paris's Galliera museum of fashion.

Dubbed "The Impossible Wardrobe", the installation is the brainchild of the museum's director Olivier Saillard - who acts as Swinton's on-stage assistant, handing her wrapped dresses, coats and accessories to unfurl and display.

"The performance was born of a taboo - you cannot wear the clothes that we store in our museums," Saillard told AFP. "But you can bear them, gently in your arms," he said - playing on the twin meanings of the French word "porter", which means both to wear and to carry.